Image/design by Liz Carver via Hipster Scripture
Do you ever feel like your life is a battlefield? No I don't mean like in the 80's song Love is a battlefield (and yet what a great jam)! What I mean is, do you ever feel like you are trying to fight off some sort of heaviness, some sort of icky feeling, some sort of insecurity, or some form of "darkness"? Like, no matter how hard you try to stay in a positive, good, joyful mood there seems to be this other force that is trying to bring you down? Ick. I feel that that has been the story of my week this week.
The best way I can think of to describe this weird phenomenon that has been taking over my days is like a little dark cloud that very unexpectedly, very unexplainably swoops in over my thoughts, covers over my positive thinking, and leads me to a place of panic. (Check out my last post Looking for Growth Opportunities if you want to hear more about what it looks like for me.)
Unfortunately, this little dark cloud has got me panicked about my upcoming weekend. There is nothing bad about it, in fact it is supposed to be a fun weekend with friends. And yet for some odd reason I feel like I have to gear up, put on my armor and figure out how to duke it out against the anxiety that seems to work so hard to defeat me.
For me, gearing up or preparing for battle looks a lot like grounding myself in the Bible- spending some time with the Lord who brings me peace, loading my mind up with scripture, with encouraging words like, "If God is for us, who can be against us?" Since I know I am not alone in this icky struggle to battle anxiety, I wanted to share with you what has got me all charged up and ready to fight the fight.
I have been reading in Romans, and today I was reading through Romans 8. Please check out the rest of it, but in order to keep it brief (ish) I am only going to mention a few verses. Romans 8:35, 37-39 says:
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? ... No, in all these things we are more than conquerorsthrough him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (emphasis added)
Ooh man, I felt like those words were speaking right to my insecurities, right to my efforts to be preparing for battle. I mean shoot, it even fits in with my imaginary battle with the terminology of more than conquerors. To be reminded that THERE IS NOTHING that will separate me from the Lord (in whom I find great peace when I'm struggling) and that through His love I am a conqueror - it gives me such great assurance that I can fight this battle.
Overall, what it gives me, is hope. A hope that through Christ I really will someday be able to claim the victory over this little dark, anxious cloud that tries to steal my joy. God created me, through his love, to not just be a conqueror, but to be more than a conqueror. So that's what I'm going to try to be. I will put on my battle mindset, prepare for the ickiness of this world, and put my hope in the promise that Jesus gives us in John 16:33 where he says, "I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!"
Those words have so often, as of late, been my battle cry. I literally imagine myself carrying some sort of flag, running up a grassy hill, with my chainmail armor on (yeah, picture that) with a very serious, determined face yelling Jesus' promise "I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD!"
Go ahead, you can laugh or call me crazy... I'm kind of 12 in the way that I really imagine a storylike picture of things in my life sometimes. But it helps me to visualize the fact that, yeah I am living in a dark world. There is most definitely trouble. I have to take action, to take charge to fight off the ickiness, the garbage that threatens to weigh me down. It is not going to be easy, in fact it most often isn't. BUT, as I take up this charge for battle, I don't have to worry about whether my hard work will pay off or whether the battle will be won. It will be won. Jesus promises me that. And so this is where I must place my trust, my hope and my confidence as I struggle with anxiety. In Jesus words that He has overcome, and his loving reminder that through him I can play a mighty role and be more than a conqueror.